German Schmear


Providing a way to help MANAGE YOUR MESS.

Since so many of you have reached out and asked for more details on how I was able to achieve the German Schmear on my fireplace –  I thought I’d give you more in-depth instructions.

(See the original “German Schmear” post here!)

I LOVE Pinterest.  So, of course, I started my own research there with all the amazing ideas from everyone else!

According to other Pinterest posts, many people said this technique takes days to dry –  but just a heads up – this was not the case here in our Colorful (Dry) Colorado.  Drying took about a day.

OK- let’s get to it!  Below are the steps I took to get the “German Schmear” look on our 1980’s fireplace!

Your Title Goes Here

1.  Clean your brick! I used Scrubbing Bubbles (I know, right?!  Sometimes old-school is just the best!). I found this cleaning hack on Pinterest. It removes any soot that may be on your brick -such a good find!
The brick on my fireplace is rough and porous so there was a lot of grime to remove from years of use (remember, my home was built in the 1980s!).

Your Title Goes Here

2.  Next, make sure you have all the necessary items for your project. You will need the following items:

  • Painters Cloth
  • 2 5 Gallon Buckets
  • 4-5 Tile Sponges (3 pack available @ Home Depot)
  • Drywall knife (Don’t judge! My drywall knife is well-loved)
  • Simple Set Pre-Mixed Mortar.  (I used 5 gallons) You can buy powdered thin-set and mix it yourself.  However, I wanted to save on time & mess of having to mix it from scratch, so I decided the small extra cost of having it pre-made was worth it (so, so worth it!).


Your Title Goes Here

3.  Use your drywall knife and spread thin-set across your brick. Work in small sections at a time. It will dry in about 10-15 mins so you need to be ready to work quickly.

Your Title Goes Here

4.  Wet your sponge (needs to be wet but not dripping water). Use 1 bucket to wet your sponge and the other bucket to rinse your sponge.


Your Title Goes Here

5.  Move the thin-set across the brick and into the grout. As you are doing this continue to wet and rinse your sponge so that the thin-set does not become to thick on your sponge. If you have rough, porous brick you will need several sponges.

Once your sponge begins to pile you’ll need to throw it away or you will have small pieces of sponge in your thin-set

Your Title Goes Here

6. This is the time to decide how much of your brick you want to show through your thin-set. I suggest you remove a little more then you think and then step back and take a look. If it’s too much just add a little more thin-set over the area. You can always remove or add more of the thin-set but it drys very hard so work quickly.  This is a learning process so work in small inconspicuous places until you get the hang of it!


You’ve also asked how do you clean your brick after the German Schmear. Again, I recommend using Scrubbing Bubbles – so far it has not affected the thin-set and keeps everything looking sharp!

I hope I’ve been able to answer your questions, if you have more, just ask!

Plus, I would love to see your fireplace makeovers too! Please feel free to share them with me on Facebook!


Happy DIY’ing!

-Terri Pettit

Terri & Scott Pettit

Terri & Scott Pettit

Owners - Max Waste Services

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This